Tag Archives: reviewed by alex

Cupcake Face Mask by Alex

About the Item

Cupcake Face Mask

1 Pot (4-8 uses) for 10.95

 

The official Lush website has this product listed in the Biofresh section, which means that it is too fresh to be mailed and must be purchased at a Lush retail location and refrigerated. The website says the product contains “mint, Rhassoul Mud and absorbent cocoa powder to treat spots, black heads, open pores and oil happy skin in a delicious chocolate mask.”

 

Ingredients: Rhassoul Mud, Linseed Infusion, glycerin, talc, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, fresh mint, sandalwood oil, vanilla absolute, spearmint oil, peppermint oil (mentha piperita), Limonene Perfume.


My Review:


I’ve got to say, this one was a first. I’ve always liked the idea of using mud to clean pores and using something that smells and feels just like cupcake frosting is practically Through the Looking Glass (or if you’d prefer, Bizarro World) in terms of skin care. How deliciously ironic.

 

A few logistical things before I get into the review itself. First of all, this product cannot be purchased online because of its fresh ingredients and it must be kept refrigerated. It also has a decreased shelf life of about 14 days for this reason. And before you ask, freezing the mask to increase the shelf life is out of the question. It would kill the helpful enzymes found in the fresh ingredients. I spoke to the Lush employees about this product at the store in Harvard Square, Cambridge and they suggested starting out with a face scrub (I used Herbalism), then applying the mask and leaving it on for about 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with warm water and finish with one of their moisturizers, Enzymion, Imperialis or Gorgeous. Lush face masks are also good for spot treatments and break-outs, but should be used 2-3 times a week maximum.

 

I must admit, I hadn’t done a whole lot of research on this product before I used it, which I think ultimately gave me a better perspective on the results, as you shall see. So, having washed with Herbalism, I applied the brown, thoroughly cupcake-scented mask, popped in a frozen pizza and sat in on about 10 minutes of Angel with my boy Langer and his lady friend Amanda. I got a few laughs from the pair, mostly because I looked like a caveman with my mud-caked face and crusty beard, or Gene Wilder from that blackface scene in Silver Streak. It was tough not to smile, but I endured the ridicule with a stony face and tried desperately not to smile for fear I’d mess up the mask’s mojo. Anyway, after washing it off, I immediately noticed a difference. My skin felt tight and stretchy, which at first I thought might have just been because it had felt so coarse and brittle from the mask (felt a little like I imagine botox would), but after I put on some moisturizer I could definitely tell something had changed. My skin felt smooth and clean and… bouncy. It’s hard to describe, really. You know how your skin hurts a little sometimes when you stretch it out for a big bight of a sandwich or a huge toothy smile? After using the mask I felt like I could fit a whole horse in my mouth without much trouble. My skin was incredibly elasticy and flexible. I was surprised to find, upon doing some research, that this was more or less the intended effect. Rhassoul Mud, which makes up the base for this mask, comes from Morocco and apart from being anti-microbial, deep cleansing and full of healthy minerals like Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium (properties belonging to most types of volcanic mud) it is known to reduce aging lines and wrinkles by making the skin more elastic and pliable. So I guess there was a little truth to my original claim. The mask also has peppermint and spearmint oils, which help sooth the skin and cleanse pores.

 

Another huge benefit is that the mask left my face smelling like rich, chocolaty cupcakes. It’s remarkable to me that the people at Lush can make mud seem so appetizing.

 

I can’t really think of a lot of cons for this product apart from its limited shelf life and perhaps that its not something I would consider a necessity. I am lucky to have been blessed with a relatively acne-free face, nor do I often wish my skin was more flexible, so it’s less of a staple and more of a luxury for me (which is not necessarily a con). Cost wise, It’s about what I would expect to pay for a mask like this. It gets extra bang-for-your-buck points because the ingredients aren’t the kind of things you can easily acquire. I always have a hard time paying for something I could put together my self for the same cost, but I’m not going to go out of my way to import Rhassoul mud from Morocco when Lush can do it for [probably] cheaper. Not to mention, masks like this usually cost $30 or more for one treatment at a spa and although Lush says that you can get about 4 uses out of a pot, I think the average user could easily get 6-8. I’ve also heard that this stuff is good for softening up your whiskers before a shave. Haven’t given it a shot yet, but as a fellow who appreciates just about any product that makes the daily scrape a little more bearable, you can bet I’ll be trying it out as soon as I work up enough scruff to truly put it to the test.

 

Bang for Your Buck: $$$

 

Over-all Rating: 4

Noubar Soap by Alex

About the Item:

Noubar Soap

3.5 Oz for $5.95

Available in any size 3.5 oz and up

The Official Lush Website says that Noubar is “as delectable as it looks,” containing ”smoky vetivert oil and Turkish rose absolute to keep you sweet every time you wash…You’d be nuts to miss out on Noubar.”

This item contains: Water (Aqua), Glycerine, Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil (Brassica napus; Helianthus annuus; Cocos nucifera), Chopped Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), Chopped Almonds (Prunus dulcis), Chopped Walnuts (Juglans regia), Sodium Hydroxide, Perfume, Titanium Dioxide, Pistachio Nuts (Pistacia vera), Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides), Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Cedarwood Oil (Cupressus funebris), Sodium Chloride, Geraniol, *Citronellol, FD&C Blue No. 1.

My Review:

Peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios? Did someone drop an industrial-sized tin of mixed nuts into one of the soap vats? And what’s with the name? I mean, props for referencing Diran Noubar, but is an obscure French documentary filmmaker really that relevant (kidding of course. Nougat + Bar = Noubar)? Of all the Lush products I have tried thus far, I think I was most resistant to this one. The smell simply did not enliven my pallet and I found the handful of tasty morsels peppering the soap more baffling than enticing. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by Noubar’s alien texture, verdant hue and latent air of mystery/edibility. And since it was technically free along with my $17 dollar chunk of Karma under the auspices of the Clean Slate Sale, I thought I might as well suffer what slings and arrows might lie ahead in the interest of providing you, fine readers, with a comprehensive review.

Looking at the list of ingredients, Noubar seems pretty light on the soap and heavy on the fixins’. This may explain why some people have a hard time getting this soap to lather. Personally I haven’t had an issue, so I can’t really complain. It’s got the standard palm-oil free soap base, of course (good news for endangered species everywhere), along with a healthy dose of earthy, woody and floral scents. Gardenia and rose mix with cedar and vetivert to produce the subtle but unmistakable aroma of a healthy garden or a well manicured lawn. As I mentioned before, I was not initially turned on by this green-funk, but when I got the soap home and used it for a few days, I found its clean, botanical aroma had started to grow on me. It’s certainly an acquired taste however, and I actually prefer it as a hand soap to one I lather up with in the shower. I don’t really need or want my pits to smell any more like fresh cut grass than they already do. On the other hand, catching subtle hints of Noubar lingering on my palms is a nice feeling throughout the day.

Alright, but seriously, what’s up with the nuts? Granted, many of the most decadent, luxurious and moisturizing fats in the world are derived from nuts (cocoa butter, almond and coconut oils, etc.), but these are usually highly concentrated (not to mention added to the soap during the saponification process) and not confined to the cellulose prison of an indehiscent seed. As Lush suggests in their description, the nuts do indeed serve other purposes: namely olfactory and tactile appeal. As I mentioned before, this soap definitely has a natural smell and the nuts certainly lend a kind of barky, mossy richness to the whole concoction. Also, anyone who has read my other soap reviews will know that I’m a sucker for anything that exfoliates the skin; usually the rougher the better. The nice thing about using nuts to accomplish this goal is that they are rough in texture, but unlike dense seeds or coarse minerals, they have a natural flexibility that makes them relatively forgiving, and less harsh on the skin. I find that the nutty protrusions that develop over time from soap erosion can be used like the scouring side of a sponge, softening my callused, battle-worn, time-gnarled and work-hardened hands, while at the same time moisturizing them to the pliancy of a broken and well-oiled catcher’s mitt.

Lastly of course, there is the matter of the soaps peculiar appearance, which I’m actually rather smitten with. Let me paint it for you: half a dozen shades of green — from creamy, St. Patrick’s Day beer-foam and pistachio gelato, to translucent TMNT Ooze — all speckled and swirled together, with splashes and constellations of brown, chunky nuts, like rocky islands lost in an alien sea. The photo truly does not do it justice. In an odd way, I’m inclined to say this soap is actually one of the loveliest I’ve seen at Lush (which would put it high in the rankings for loveliest worldwide); a triumphant synergy of Lush’s unique aesthetic and conscientious world view. In short, a soap to unite the muddled and over-commercialized “green” movement, to inspire and lead the apathetic masses into a fertile and sustainable future with like… wheat grass just growing all over the place and… kids running around with Super Soakers full of sunshine and… huge bees everywhere and all that. Yeah….It’s going to be awesome.

Weird-hippie-tangent aside, this soap really is easy on the eyes. And, as it turns out, the wallet as well (at least by Lush standards). At $5.95 per 3.5 oz. you really can’t go wrong. Hurray for defying expectations!

Bang-For-Your-Buck Rating: $$$

Overall Rating: 4 as a hand soap. 3 as a body soap. -20000 if you’re allergic to nuts.

Shave the Planet Shaving Cream by Alex

About the Item:

Shave the Planet Shaving Cream

$14.95 for 3.5 oz or $22.95 for 8.8 z

The Official Lush Website say that this nutrient-laden goop “has super stubble-stopping strength yet leaves skin silky-soft. Soothing bamboo infusion and anti-oxidant açai juice fight aging while vitamin-rich pumpkin seed and rosehip oils calm skin.”

This item contains: Bamboo Leaf infusion (Bambusa arundinacea), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Goji Berry Decoction (Lycium barbarum), Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Organic Acai Juice, Triethanolamine, Fresh Sugar Cane Juice, Lavender Oil (Lavandula augustifolia), Fennel Oil (Foeniculum vulgare), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil (Rosa canina), Organic Wheatgerm Oil (Triticum vulgare), Pumpkin Seed Oil (Cucurbita pepo), Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis), Cupuacu Butter (Theobroma Grandiflorum), Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia cerifera), Cetearyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

My Review:

Several years ago, my loving and ridiculously supportive grandparents, Anahid and Vazken (check the former out on annbandazian.com) imbued me with the privileges of Carte Blanche with regards to the many antiques, curio and objet d’ar in their beautiful revolutionary-period brick home. Of course I always ask politely before exercising this power, and in turn they have always indulged my requests for little trinkets found around the attic or in the barn. So of course, on a routine Thanksgiving visit several months ago, when I spotted a long-retired, vintage Gillette “Fatboy” double-sided safety razor in the wash room, they were happy, once again, to oblige my curiosity.

I’ve been struggling ever since, through trial and error, razor burn and uneven stubble, to learn the art of the traditional wet shave. I bring this up only because, as anyone who has ever shaved in this manner knows, the line between a painful, bloodied, irritated face and a smooth, clean, healthy one is often drawn by quality of one’s tools. Mine, therefore, is a more discerning crucible than most when it comes to the trial of a shaver’s most important piece of software: the cream.

So far I’ve been somewhat under-whelmed by Lush‘s shaving products. I went through a full tub of Prince (see my earlier review), which was fine, but didn’t really blow me away. And then… well I guess that’s it, but there are only three of them (Prince, S.T.P. and Razorantium) and as far as I can tell they’re all virtually the same thing with slight variations on tertiary ingredients and viscosities. I’m disappointed that they have never made an actual shaving soap or lathering cream. Believe me, I’m drafting a letter proposing a solution to this concern, which will hopefully be named after yours-truly when and if it hits the shelves. Until then, cream/moisturizer based shaves will have to suffice.

Enough exposition. Let’s get down to business shall we? The first thing I noticed upon unscrewing the tub was the distinct color, texture and aroma of Shea butter. I was not surprised to find that this was a major ingredient, second only to Bamboo leaf infusion (what’s up with that?). Its thick, rich consistency, high fat content and great moisturizing properties make Shea butter an ideal base for high-end shaving creams. Also the nutty, chocolatey aroma mixes very well with the rose and lavender undertones in S.T.P. which I actually prefer to the smell of both Razorantium and Prince (both very similar. Citrusy with a hint of sex pollen)

I applied a large dollop to my face after showering and cleansing with hot water to get my skin nice and supple. S.T.P.’s viscosity is somewhere between Prince, on the runny side, and Razorantium, on the cold-butter side. It spreads nicely and melts slightly with body heat due to its high fat content. Trust me, this is a good thing when it comes to shaving. Purified plant fats are excellent moisturizers and they provide a smooth lubricant for your razor. In addition to Shea butter, S.T.P. contains a potent arsenal of moisturizers and emollients including glycerin, lavender oil, fennel oil, rosehip oil, wheatgerm oil, pumpkin seed oil, Jojoba oil, cupuacu butter and candelilla wax.

The moment of truth: I put a brand new razor into my Gillette Fatboy, adjusted the settings and set about shearing off the patches of stubble in quick, short strokes, switching sides and rinsing the head with each new pass. I did my first round with the grain, which usually doesn’t cause any major problems. So far so good. The second round however, which always goes against the grain, is a constant source of irritation for me, especially on the left and right sides of my neck where the skin dips down before meeting in a point along the ridge of my vocal cord. I lubed back up with another thick dollop of S.T.P. and prepared myself for the harsh, scraping sound and that tell-tale tugging feeling that precedes the raw sting of razor-burn. To my surprise, the razor glided almost effortlessly through the stubble left over from my first round. Flawless. I did the rest of my neck, including the woeful valleys and peaks and was absolutely blown away. Up until now, I’ve always had to either avoid those tough spots and end up with a rough, patchy area left over, or accept the pain of razor-burn as the price for a close shave. For probably the first time ever, I had the best of both worlds.

The only thing I can think of to explain this phenomenon is that the hair follicles were somehow softened, made easier to cut by some magical secret ingredient. That’s not to say I felt no resistance, but it was significantly less, so much so that I noticed an immediate difference. In my experience, I have never come across a substance that would have this effect apart from maybe a strong acid. All I know is that a good shaving cream needs to have lots of fat and a few extra ingredients to soothe the skin (which this stuff does have, by the way; lavender and rose hips primarily). Now there are a number of ingredients in S.T.P. that do not fall neatly into either category, but may have some medicinal properties, unknown to me, that would accomplish this “softening” phenomenon. Goji berry and Acai, famed anti-oxidants, are two such mystery ingredients.

Now, I don’t really buy the whole “anti-oxidant” thing. I get that anti-oxidants are good for you and that they help to prevent cancer, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there and a hand full of straight up mysteries. It’s safe to say that at this time, we don’t really understand the full effects that anti-oxidants have on humans, which means that marketing stooges get to make up whatever they want about them. To my knowledge, there is no evidence to suggest that anti-oxidants help you loose weight, give you more energy or magically soften your stubble. They do repair and prevent the oxidative damage cause by normal cellular functions. Perhaps one could build a case for how this “fights aging,” but my guess is that something you apply to your face and then scrape off with a razor four or five times a week is not going to make a significant difference in the fight against Father Time and his infernal, elephant-eared progeny, Baby New Year.

Oh well. Chalk this one up to mystery I guess. I think I can live with that for the time being if it makes my grooming more pleasant. I’ve shaved three or four more times with S.T.P. and can say that I am quite pleased with the product. One major pro that often goes unnoticed with cream shaves is that they don’t dry out your face like most shaving soaps do and a little bit will go a looong way. There are so many moisturizers and emollients packed in there, you don’t have to do that much in the way of aftercare. Just rinse off (cold water only), throw on a balm or aftershave and you’re good.

My advice, buy this stuff if you value your face.

Bang for Your Buck Rating: $$

Overall Rating: 5

AAB

Karma Soap by Alex

Karma

About the Item:

Karma Soap

3.5 oz for $7.95
Available in any size 3.5 oz and up

The Official Lush Website lists this soap as one of their best sellers. “A spicy orange and patchouli soap to calm and soothe a tired mind…Lemongrass, pine, orange and patchouli essential oils can turn a boring shower into a truly groovy experience!”

This item contains: Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Perfume, Glycerine, Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin), Orange Oil (Citrus dulcis), Lavendin Oil (Lavendula hybrida), Pine Oil (Pinus), Lemongrass Oil (Cymbopogan flexuosus), Elemi Oil (Canarium commune), Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides), *Citral, *Geraniol, *Citronellol, *Limonene, *Linalool, FD&C Red No. 4,.

My Review:

So, it’s a new year. Time to start things off right and get going on one of my several resolutions (next to graduate and get a job…): Update content on the regular. I know, I know, it’s been a while since I put anything up here and a damn long while since I reviewed any actual soap, but frankly, I was just getting too bogged down with school, money, the holidays and so on to even think about Lush. It just became another commitment. Every time I bought something I’d think “well… I really ought to review this… but I kinda just want to wash my face with it…”

However, with the advent of the recent holiday sale, I got a second chance (Big ups to Lauren at the Burlington Mall Lush for all of her help!). See, I got to splurge a little without having to worry too much about my mounting debt issues, and as a result I picked up a chunk of Karma, which I had previously snubbed because, well, Sally can’t stand it and I figured I probably wouldn’t dig it either. Oh how wrong I was. On first smell, I was intrigued but not blown away. But the more I let it linger, catching whiffs of it as I continued to browse, I realized how pleasant and subtle it was and how clean it made me feel. I was sold.  So much so, in fact, that I just bought another chunk of it this morning (I bought that last one the day after Christmas… less than a week ago…yeah… it’s a problem).

So, let’s get down to business. First of all, love the color and the over all design of the soap. I like how simple and chic it is. Just a big block with a giant lotus stamp in it. I mean, I do love how creative they get some times; the swirling loops and spires on Spice Curls, the crazy highlighter-soup and glitter of Angel’s Delight. But the simple, clean elegance of this soap fits very well with its M.O. Relaxed, earthy, and rich.

The smell, of course, is the major selling point of any soap (let’s face it, they’re almost all technically composed of the same melt-and-pour base). The overtones are patchouli and orange, blended with lavender, pine and lemongrass to add depth and tone. Sally says she doesn’t like this one specifically because of the patchouli, and I’ve heard this complaint from a number of people. I’ll admit, in just about every other context, I dislike the smell. I find it over-powering and way over-used by dirt-children and wannabe hippies. But I think this soap balances it well. In fact, it smells like… something else entirely. There’s definitely that rich, musky smell from the patchouli but it’s not that nose-wrinkling, pungent-inscence-stand-next-to-the-foodcourt smell I typically associate it with. It’s waaay toned down and it’s full of little subtleties that keep me coming back for another whiff. The lavender gives it a breezy, clean-laundry smell and the orange and lemon grass make it just a little bit fresh and citrusy like an open window in the spring time. The best part (and this goes for a lot of Lush products) is that it smells natural. It smells like something my body produced on its own if I stuck to a diet of flower pettles, rain water and sunshine.

A brief word on the technical side of this soap: As far as Lush soaps go, this one is more on the glycerine side of things than most, which means that it cuts easily, lathers nicely and disperses its odour very well. However, it also melts like crazy, especially in salt-treated water like we have at my house (to combat the minerals we get from our well water). Glycerine soaps absorb moisture well, so on hot, humid days this soap will be very gooey to the touch. I reccomend keeping it in a dry place and toweling it off after use if possible. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled program…

In general, this soap is balanced and well put together. It’s not overly ambitious. It’s beautiful and charming in its simplicity. It’s Karma. I’m not going to bother getting into the actual meaning of that word, nor am I going to mix up my Asian cultures by talking about how “Zen” it is or how “Fung Shui” or “Tai Chi” or any of that crap that marketing people typically tac on to things that seem like they come from The Mysterious Orient. The truth is, it doesn’t matter why they call it that. The intoxicating smell and vivid orange-red color speak for themselves without flashy clicks and whistles.

I never want to stop smelling like this. Seriously. Ya feel me?

Bang-for-your-Buck Rating: $$$ (Or $$$$$$$$ if you happen to get it on the Holiday Sale going on until the 11th of January!)

Over-all Rating: 5
PS: I am aware that they make a Karma perfume and that it does not come from the bodies of people who ingest rainwater and sunshine exclusively. Maybe some day I’ll give it a try, but for now I’m satisfied with the soap.

Prince Triple Orange Blossom Shaving Cream Review by Alex

prince1

About the Item:

Prince Triple Orange Blossom Shaving Cream

7.9 oz. 21.45$

3.5 oz. 12.55$

The Official Lush Website describes this product as an “exotic citrus shaving cream to leave skin soft and smooth… Mucilage and moisturizing oils and butters protect your skin and form a smooth barrier between you and the razor, which means a closer shave with fewer nicks. Rose water and witch hazel soothe skin to keep you bump and burn-free.”

It contains: Linseed Mucilage (Linum usitatissimum), Rose Water (Rosa centifolia), Fair Trade Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Glycerine, Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis), Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Linseed Oil (Linum usitatissimum), Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Beeswax (Cera alba), Triethanolamine, Perfume, Neroli Oil (Citrus amara), Orange Flower Absolute (Citrus Dulcis), Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides), Orange Oil (Citrus dulcis), Mandarin Oil (Citrus nobilis), Tincture of Benzoin (Styrax benzoin), Rose Absolute (Rosa centifolia), *Citral, *Limonene, *Linalool, Hydroxycitronellol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben,.

My Review:

Hear that? You don’t, do you. Try again. Still nothing? What you should be listening for is silence. Something in short supply these days, especially when you live next to the highway like I do, and 18-wheelers routinely chug past your windows, causing chunks of plaster to come loose from the ceiling and fall into your morning coffee. But there’s something to be said for silence, especially when it comes to shaving. Guys, you know what I’m talking about. When you drag a razor down your cheek, you don’t want it to sound like nails on a chalkboard or some brat crunching through fallen leaves. It should sound like soft caress. A gold bar lightly stroking a silk pillow. I think Prince described it best when he crooned “this is what it sounds like when doves [shave].”

Why such an elaborate opening just for the sake of a really lame Prince reference? I admit, that was a little contrived, but you should know by now that there is always a method to my stupid introductions (and besides, I couldn’t resist a reference to the God of Sex himself and neither could you, I’d wager). My point is this: The Rule of Silence (one of Alex’s Golden Rules of Shaving) dictates that in choosing a shaving cream, a good indicator of the right viscosity is what it sound like when you scrape the razor over your chinny chin chin. And as everyone knows, a good shaving cream is key (though it is not the most important factor in shaving) and in my estimation, Lush’s Prince shaving cream passes the test (and many others).

I recently acquired a small sample of Prince, a product I’ve wanted to try since I first discovered Lush. I am pretty particular about shaving stuff, as are most men, I think, and I especially am always up for trying something new. Bottom line: I was stoked and maybe a little fool-hardy. I wanted to put this stuff to a real test, so I let my stubble grow for an extra day before shaving. I hopped in the shower (as you should know, guys, you always shower before you shave to warm up your face and make you whiskers supple) and when I got out, I quickly set myself up, following Lush’s recommendation to “let the shaving cream sink into your skin for 3-5 minutes before you begin to shave.” I used a brand new razor blade to eliminate as many variables as possible and began to shave.

My first impressions was that it was really thick and slippery, almost the consistency of lard (or if you prefer a less nasty goop, shea butter). But I found that it smoothed out as I warmed it up on my face and a little amount spread easily over my neck and upper lip (I have a ¾ beard so I leave that alone). I shaved and it felt pretty good. Nice smooth action, no raspy scraping sound, lovely rich orange and cream smell, but I really wanted to put it to the test. So, I re-lathered and inverting my grip on the razor, prepared to shave AGAINST THE GRAIN!

This test proved ill advised, as it turns out, and although I got a much closer shave, I also gave myself a gnarly case of razor burn. But I didn’t give up. As soon as my skin was healed, I gave Prince another shot and again I was quite pleased. I shaved with the grain and got a nice, close shave out of it.

The thing that impressed me the most was how smooth my skin was after. I mentioned the fatty texture before, which is caused by the incredibly high concentration of moisturizers. Moisturizers in your shaving cream are INCREDIBLY important. It comes down to this: there is an upper limit to how close you can get based on cream alone. Most of shaving has to do with your razor. Fact. Mostly what shaving cream should do is lubricate well without getting in the way, but the thing that seperates the Barbasols from the “3 Ts” is what it does to your face after you shave. I’m talking about recovery, and when it comes to this quality, Prince can stand up to the best. Witchazel and rosewater both calm, tone and help heal skin that’s been torn up by a razor (every time you shave, this is what you’re doing) and it’s so moisturizing you don’t even need after shave lotion. Just rinse it off, work in what’s left on your skin (It’s like 90% moisturizer anyway) and you’re all set!

As for over all cost, Prince is a little pricey by my standards, but somewhere in the upper-middle range by luxury shave product standards. A 5 oz. of cream at The Art of Shaving will run you about 22$, which is pretty typical of the luxury industry. However, I’d be willing to bet that 5 oz. of Prince would go a lot farther than most other creams though (I only had about a tablespoon and I got 2 and a half shaves out of it). Over all, if you’re looking for a luxurious shaving cream, Prince is just about as good as it gets (which for me is saying something), but if the price tag scares you, there’s no shame in it.

Oh, and for you ladies, just about all of this stuff applies, but unless you put diamond dust in your coffee instead of sugar, I’d go for another product. The volume you’d need to shave your legs and whatnot would make this particular cream economically unfeasible for most (not to mention its kind of like using a Rolls-Royce to deliver pizzas).

Overall Rating: 5

Bang-For-Your-Buck: $$

Flying Fox Shower Gel by Alex

Flying Fox Shower Gel

About the item:

3.3 oz. $9.25

8.4 oz. $17.45

16.9 oz. $24.75

The Official Lush Website describes Flying Fox Shower Gel as an “Exotic jasmine and honey shower gel [that] boosts confidence and sex appeal… its infinitely sexy and mysterious scent makes any shower fit for a queen.”

This item contains: Honey (Mel), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Chinese Angelica, Burdock Root and Jasmine Flower Infusion, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Hungarian Honey (Mel), Greek Honey (Mel), English Honey (Mel), Perfume, Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum officinale), Ylang Ylang Oil (Cananga odorata), Cypress Oil (Cupressus sempervirens), Palmarossa Oil (Cymbopogan martini), *Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.


My Review

I shall never forget, as long as I live, a single awkward line I was forced to read aloud in my Intro to Fiction course. I don’t remember what story it came from, or for that matter the context… or the line itself, but I distinctly remember the image of a girl holding a finger aloft in the air and the faint scent of orange blossoms on the breeze. For all its absurdity, meaninglessness and general bodily grotesquety, I think the predominant feeling generated by the line lodged itself in my memory. The notion that sex or passion or desire has a distinct smell and that this smell is in fact floral and above all, natural in origin. I mean, notice the author didn’t write “and the faint breeze smelled of Obsession, by Calvin Klein.”

It all boils down to this: whatever they put in Flying Fox Shower Gel smells like sex appeal in its rawest form. No, it doesn’t smell like synthetic pig hormones or whatever the hell they use to make Axe attract prepubescent girls. It evokes that natural, Adam-and-Eveish kind of sexual desire. Clean, floral and delicious. I’m fairly certain this stuff is actually marketed to females, but I find the smell more of a unisex thing. If they ever wanted to sell it to guys, of course, they could just drop the ‘f’ and make it Flying Ox (“Ox” of course, not being used to refer to an adult, castrated male of the genus Bos, but a big, manly chunk of hot sexy man-which meat).

Even though I really do love the smell of this product, I’m going to have to play devil’s advocate for a moment. Sally isn’t a big fan, and I can see why, to be honest. It contains mostly honey and jasmine with a good amount of Chinese Angelica, which is a medicinal herb generally used for menopause… stuff and menstrual… things. Or something. Anyway, it’s also an aphrodisiac, which is cool but not necessarily for everyone. Basically it smells like tasty honey with a pretty strong floral overtone and a little bit of that trees-having-sex smell you get in spring when there’s tons of pollen in the air. I think it’s awesome, but I thought I should get a second opinion, so I asked one of my room mates and this guy who comes over to my house every Saturday to take a shower because he’s not allowed to at his place (long story). She said she liked the smell a lot, but that it was a little strange and he said that he found it very relaxing. Go figure. Also, an important thing to remember is that when you smell it in the store, you’re smelling the concentrated form. When you mix it with water and lather it on to your skin, it’s going to dilute a lot. After washing with it you’ll definitely smell it on you (and trust me it’s quite nice), but it isn’t overpowering at all in my opinion.

Apart from the smell (which, lets admit, is probably the most important characteristic to most people for any Lush product) this stuff actually really impresses me as a shower gel. The other Lush gels I’ve used (in particular Rub Rub Rub) are a little too runny and despite being good moisturizers, they don’t lather nearly enough… like… at all. Flying Fox on the other hand is nice and relatively thick and it lathers pretty well. Not incredible, but it’s all natural and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals to make it look thicker and more lathery. As far as longevity goes, this stuff is pretty good. I don’t know the exact ratio but I would say one of the small bottles will last you about as long as one of those giganto bottles of body wash (Axe, Old Spice, etc.), which is pretty impressive. Like most Lush products, you don’t need to use a ton to get the job done.

As for composition, there are a number of different honeys in this mixture which are known for their restorative and medicinal qualities — you can actually use honey to treat burns and prevent infections and when mixed with body moisture it creates a natural hydrogen peroxide solution which helps to sanitize and cleans. Honey is also good because it absorbs well into the skin, providing nutrients for your cells. And of course the Jasmine and Ylang Ylang don’t hurt either.

So all in all, this shower gel provides all of the things a good shower gel ought to, with the added bonus that it smells like exquisite carnal ecstasy. Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on who you ask.

Bang for Your Buck: $$

Overall Rating: 4

Magic Bath Bomb by Alex

Magic Bath Bomb

Product Preview! Brand new for Christmas 2008!

About the Item

$5.95 (Or at least we think so; there is not yet a price listed on the North American Lush website, as it has not yet been released for general consumption, but it costs 3.10 in the UK.)

This item contains: Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Perfume, Thymus Mastichina Oil, Rosa Damascena Extract, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Eugenol, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Linalool, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Yellow No. 5, D&C Red No. 33, and Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Extract.

The Official Lush Website lists Magic as a new product for Christmas 2008. It was available at the September UK Forum Party and the October NA Chat Party and will be available to the general public for the Christmas 2008 season. The Lush describes Magic as “a 14-sided bomb that turns your bathwater a deep sapphire blue. Seen from the top, it’s a hexagon, or ‘hex’ bomb, with a blend of marjoram and rose in the shell to dissolve anxieties. Then, as the water changes color, basil and peppermint oils swirl into your tub to bring you growth, vitality and energy.”

My Review:

Being one who is naturally inclined to superstition, I’m always a bit daunted by products that unabashedly claim to be ‘magic.’ What if there’s some malevolent (or at least ironic) wizard somewhere, pumping out products that are actually magic and using the whole marketing scheme as a clever ploy to hide out in plain site while his product wreak havoc on our fragile little reality. Unlikely? Yes. None the less, I think my encounter with this product was much too serendipitous to be relegated to the realm of evil wizards. A little more like fate, but without all the nasty connotations and issues with free will.

Sally and I got back today from apple picking in New Hampshire and found that a few packages had arrived, one of which contained a number of products that she won in the UK Forum Party. We unrolled a strangely shaped object wrapped in the signature Lush paper and found, to our surprise, not the typical spheroid Bath Bomb, but a gigantic, pungent tetradecagon that looked like it belonged in some ogre’s Dungeons and Dragons game. Of course it didn’t have any numbers (and really, what would you ever use a D14 for?), but the shape made a big first impression. Sally was super excited because she was DYING to try this but hadn’t ordered it in time in the online forum/chat parties.
Now this is the first [Lush] Bath Bomb I’ve ever used, as I don’t often take baths, so I’m sure a number of my observations are going to be of the kind that would describe most things of this sort. I’m not talking about observations like “Holy crap! It Fizzes!” I mean, it does do that… but the point is, I’m going to try to give it my honest first impressions and stay specific to this particular product as much as possible. I imagine there are not enormous differences between bath bombs (maybe I’m wrong), which is why this caveat is necessary.

So, first of all, love the smell. It’s a little strange, actually (the smell that is). I don’t know if it would be for everyone. It’s sweet smelling, and floral, but a little… herbaceous. Not in a bad way. It just smells like what it is: a magic spell. It’s got basil, marjoram and peppermint, so it’s no big surprise. I think its aroma actually improves significantly when you put it in the bath. It’s like someone filled the Sorting Hat with magical, bubbling blue water and tossed you in. Okay, that was a bad analogy, but trust me, it’s good.

The colors are also really amazing. When you first drop it in it literally makes the water velvety blue where ever it does its little effervescent dance. Gradually the outer shell wears away and the inside is red (and apparently composed of different nice smelling things, which is probably why it smells better in the tub than it does in your hand). The combination turns the water into a really cool shade of deep, blueish purple. I don’t know what the practical advantages of this are, though purple products are supposed to be good for blondes (?), but it sure is lovely.

I think the best thing about this bath bomb is how smooth and silky it makes the water. There are lots of awesome moisturizing oils in this bath bomb and they make your skin feel really nice. Apparently a lot of people use them to shave their legs and whatnot. Just pop it in the bath, let it soak in and then go all wolverine with the razor; no cream or gel required. I don’t know if I’d attempt this (or if I’d even want to…), but I think it says a lot about how silky and soft it makes your skin. Best part is, I’m sitting in bed a few hours after taking the bath and I can still smell that delicious potion all over my body. It’ actually really invigorating. I was practically asleep when I took the bath and now I’m wide awake and ready to finally add some content to our blog (heh… heh… sorry. I’ve been busy!)

Actually, I think my favorite part about this bath bomb is that there is a sprig of parsley in the center of the mix. Not sure what it does exactly, but I appreciate little details like that a helluva lot more than sparkley blue glitter and sunshine extract. From the shape to the color to the contents, this thing is delicious and absurd. I don’t know if I would buy this again, but I think that’s mostly just because it’s a bit of a luxury item and I don’t take many baths. But for a guy like me it’s a nice treat and for all of you out there who take baths on the regular, I think you’ll quite enjoy this big blue hunk of heathen witchcraft.

Bang for your Buck: $$

Overall Rating: 3